There’s been tough times at the ANU recently – US punk legends Flipper pulled less than 50 paying punters last week – so when Canberran hard rockers The Escape Syndrome opened proceedings last Friday to a crowd in a region of, say, less than ten (and not one of those men had thought to bring a dog with them), things were looking mighty bleak. That’s not to say the ‘Syndrome were bad – they warmed up those that were there with an excellent three quarters of an hour of modern heaviness -it’s just a shame that more people weren’t there to enjoy proceedings. The band is tight beyond their tender years, and in singer Matt Faulkner they have a man with the pipes and the stage presence to go all the way.
A trickle of the curious keeps coming through the door (as does a very cold breeze), so that when local heroes Super Best Friends emerge into the spotlight’s baleful glare there is at least something resembling a crowd in place. They haven’t played since their own EP launch at this very venue a few months back, and a couple of songs suffer at the start of the set from a surfeit of ring rust. By the end though, they’re rocking, and they set things up nicely for the headliners.
As if by magic, a goodly crowd has materialised by the time headliners Hell City Glamours appear, and the Sydney outfit doesn’t let them down. Yes, they’re old fashioned, yes, they offer nothing new, but my God they rock. By their own admission they aren’t on top form tonight, but the boozed up faithful aren’t complaining (especially one particularly tenacious stagediver who spends almost as much time onstage as the band) as the band cruise through all of last year’s debut album and throw in a few new numbers as an unexpected treat. Three years of touring with the likes of the New York Dolls, the Angels, and Kiss’ Paul Stanley have turned this band into something very close to the ‘real deal’ and, with the album coming out in Europe next month this might be the last time we see the band for a while, which makes this great performance all the more something to treasure.